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Role of antennae of the dragonfly Orthetrum cancellatum in flight control


THE function of the antennae of insects as air current sense organs and their relationship to flight control has already been investigated by behavioural studies in flies, bees and locusts1–6, all of which are excellent fliers. The dragonfly is also an excellent flier although it possesses a very different flight apparatus7–9. Even though flight is apparently influenced by the eyes and the neck sense organs of the dragonfly10,11, it seems unlikely that these organs have anything to do with the control of movements which are dependent on the surrounding air for their stimulation. For the measurement of flying speed relative to the surrounding air, for example, one might expect that, just as in the other insects, the antennae play an important and specific role. It is this hypothesis which has been tested in the present work, the results of which are reported below.

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GEWECKE, M., HEINZEL, HG. & PHILIPPEN, J. Role of antennae of the dragonfly Orthetrum cancellatum in flight control. Nature 249, 584–585 (1974).

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